LocationCorvallis, OR, USA
General ContractorFortis Construction
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing EngineersInterface Engineering
Civil EngineerWDY, Inc
Text description provided by the architects. This ground-up building provides private beds, therapy spaces, and classrooms in a single-story inpatient clinic for adolescents suffering from substantial behavioral and mental health issues. Sited at The Children’s Farm Home near Corvallis, the building is the client’s first building specifically designed for higher acuity clients, as the campus originally functioned as an orphanage. The original “cottages” at the Farm Home were not well-suited to the safety and security concerns posed by this acute population, so a new facility was top priority.
In studying precedent facilities at the outset of the design process, the design team was faced with some bleak precedents, generally consisting of little more than concrete block walls and institutional/correctional grade fixtures and furnishings. The brief for this building was to create a facility that would match the performance and safety of those precedent projects but to also create a warm, welcoming, recuperative atmosphere that respects the dignity of the patient while appealing to a teenage clientele.
The building is sited to integrate with the existing Farm Home facilities, becoming the first new building of what will eventually become a fully secure campus quad. Within this quad, the majority of secure enclosure are provided by buildings rather than fences. Careful consideration was given to existing oak, redwood, and sequoia trees to seamlessly integrate the new construction with the existing site and maintain all existing substantial trees.
Staff, patients, and facilities groups were engaged throughout the design process to help envision and define a building that met physical and emotional needs of the youth while keeping staff safe and operations efficient. Construction details and product selections were vital in designing a secure environment, and the design team worked to integrate institutional-grade fixtures and hardware in a manner that would not feel oppressive. Views through skylights and clerestory windows are used extensively, connecting patients with nature while minimizing the potential damage and safety issues inherent with glazing at lower levels.
The ability to separate populations of patients by acuity (or level of agitation) drove a requirement for flexibility and space redundancy that became central to the facility design. The use of operable partitions and eight-bed pods allows units to be scaled down to four-bed units with their own “living room,” or left open where all 16 patients can occupy one “day room.” This kind of scalability is crucial in responding to myriad situations and clientele, which can change on a daily basis. The layout also encourages staff to be out with the patients, offering opportunity for positive staff/patient interactions.
The building is intended to blend the qualities of a first class mental health facility with traditional vernacular forms, acknowledging the rural location and providing residential symbolism. Common areas, staff areas, and classrooms join the sleeping pods around two enclosed, secure courtyards. The exterior palette is a modern play on the Farm Home aesthetic, with rich cedar siding, warm metallic cladding, and bright accent colors.